NEW DELHI: On Friday, the Supreme Court asked the Centre to consider providing accommodation and quarantine facilities to the doctors and other medical staff at places nearby hospitals where they work. According to the reports, a bench of justices L Nageswara Rao, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and B R Gavai of the apex court directed Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta to seek instructions on a petition filed by a lady doctor from Udaipur.

During the hearing through a video conference, senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi, appeared for the petitioner Arushi Jain. He stated that the resident doctors in govt hospitals are supposed to be quarantined after completing their duties for 7 to 14 days. He further said that at present the doctors are being quarantined at places with sharing washrooms as well as sharing rooms, which completely violates the social distancing measures and makes the doctors vulnerable to the disease. 

These arrangements could prove a blunder and lead to the outbreak of COVID-19 among the corona fighters itself. 

He made an appeal to provide proper guest houses and hotels to the doctors where social distancing is possible with necessary facilities for them. 

However, the Solicitor-General of India, Tushar Mehta, pointed out that on April 7, state governments had ordered the setting up of necessary arrangements for accommodation of doctors. The Centre is aware of the situation and is doing its best to look after their needs.

He further informed the Supreme Court that a large number of hotels including five-star hotels had been reserved for the medical staff. He also ensured the court that a hotline for the doctors was available if they wished to raise an issue.

However, he concluded saying that if there was any lapse in the facilities available, it must be brought to the notice of the government.

Meanwhile, the bench asked Mehta to take suggestions by the petitioner and consider requisitioning other places with better facilities near the hospital itself for the medical staff. During this time of crisis, it is most important to protect those who are fighting for us. 

“The medical staff & doctors are the “first line of defence of the country”, the apex court stated. 

Earlier too, it had directed the Centre to ensure the availability of appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE) to them for treating Coronavirus patients. Including PPE, the court passed three orders for the requisite equipment & safety measures for doctors & healthcare workers amid the pandemic.